Helping Shug shine
Shug lies sprawled out on a dog bed under a desk, lazily opening her amber eyes to see who’s walked through the door of the Best Friends animal care administration office. At first it seems like she’s too comfortable to leave her bed. But then, with a Zen-like calm, she stretches her body and climbs slowly to her feet, knowing that visitors often mean extra pets and treats.
It’s hard to imagine a dog who’s so polite and calm spinning in animated circles, bouncing around and barking for attention. But that’s exactly what she was known for in the past, which made it nearly impossible for Shug to find a home.
A matching energy level
Shug (pronounced like the first syllable in “sugar”) has a natural tendency to match the energy level around her. Put her in a calm, quiet environment like an office at the Sanctuary, and she’s calm and quiet. But when she finds herself in a very busy, constantly moving environment, Shug struggles to contain herself.
When the cookie jar on the desk is open, Shug sits and waits for a treat, which she takes gently along with a scratch behind her ears. Then she asks for a belly rub as politely as she can, by lying on her side on the carpet with one back leg up in the air. This happy time is now part of Shug’s routine, ever since she was enrolled in a special program at the Sanctuary.
A perfect office mate
Shug is a part of Dogtown’s office dog program. Run by Dogtown trainers, the program matches dogs like her — who might need some special attention, extra socialization or some quiet time — to an office at the Sanctuary that volunteers to host them. That’s how Shug found herself taking a mini-vacation in the office each week.
Shug uses her office time to unwind, catch some z’s and enjoy the change of scenery. She’s also showing everyone how well-behaved she can be. Dogtown manager Chris Vergallito explains that, since the office is a human-centered environment with fewer canine distractions than Dogtown, she’s able to completely relax there. “Shug is a different dog in the office,” Chris says. “She has even been present for meetings that have involved a dozen managers and has behaved beautifully."
Calm and centered
By being such a perfect office mate, Shug is proving that she’ll do great in a home setting, which will make it easier for her to find the right home. Best of all, Shug’s office visits each week provide her the doggy version of a restorative yoga class. She returns to Dogtown calmer, more centered and ready to let the best parts of her personality shine.
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Photos by Molly Wald and Ann Hepworth